Few Americans would argue with Winston Churchill's dictum: "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." But the culture of secrecy that has developed within the Bush/Cheney White House has taken that admonition to dangerous extremes. The inherent tension that exists between the public's right to know and the government's need for confidentiality in the service of national security is the subject of this powerful documentary by Harvard professors Peter Galison and Robb Moss. (Note: the latter will attend opening night for a Q&A.) In addition to historical footage, the film employs a series of pulsating animated drawings, with the white ink against the black background injecting an appropriately unsettling, even sinister tone. Arguments on both sides of the debate are presented, although the filmmakers have a clear point of view: that the current level of secrecy is harmful. Most chilling is the former CIA station chief who defends secrecy on the grounds that it "allows us the latitude of action to use methods that are not necessarily consistent with our values as a nation."
Public access? Not so fast.
Runs at Northwest Film Forum, Fri., Oct. 10–Thurs., Oct. 16. Not rated. 85 minutes.